It’s time to flash back seven years to 2012, an era of huge choruses, thumping dance beats and an endless supply of sci-fi influenced music videos. 2012’s charms were endless, but here are fifty of the absolute best singles.
To be eligible for this top fifty list, songs must have had a Korean release as a title or promotional track between Jan. 1st and Dec. 31st, 2012.
PART ONE: Songs 50-41
40. Nu’est – Face
Nu’est came strong right out of the gate with this incredible debut. Pairing symphonic elements with a dancefloor pulse, the central hook is so memorable that even a too-trendy dubstep breakdown can’t sabotage the song’s incredible effect.
39. BoA – The Shadow
The strongest dance single she’s released this decade, and a criminally underrated entry in her discography. Its nearly constant stream of rhythmic vocal delivery transforms its otherwise steady beat and feels like Korea’s answer to Janet Jackson.
38. Orange Caramel – Lipstick
Orange Caramel’s first classic single, and a track that distills all their charms into a deliriously addictive piece of smart electro pop. It’s a big eye wink of a pop song, constantly egging you on with its multitude of perfectly crafted hooks.
37. Xia Junsu – Tarantallegra (ft. Flowsik)
Tarantallegra is unlike any other K-pop song out there, forging its intense dance beat from little more than thundering drums and symphonic flourishes. Junsu creeps over the top with an arresting performance that merges staccato delivery with a hypnotic incantation of a chorus.
36. f(x) – Electric Shock
In many ways, Electric Shock is the pinnacle of a certain f(x) sound. The beat is immense, the many melodic turns are unexpected, and the hook hits like a sledgehammer.
35. Sistar – Alone
The moment Sistar grew up, offering a sleeker, sexier sound that cast them in a completely different light. The breathy, synth-dripped opening remains one of 2012’s most iconic moments.
34. Nine Muses – Ticket
With the most lethally catchy hook in their arsenal, Ticket trades on a frantic, synth-assisted melody that builds to constant, euphoric crescendos.
33. 100% – Bad Boy
A flawless debut, Bad Boy pulses with a heavy electronic throb that only grows stronger as the track bursts into its enormous, go-for-broke chorus. Its tense instrumental creates a powerful sense of movement throughout.
32. TVXQ – Humanoids
A thundering kick of guitar-fueled beats, Humanoids took the familiar SMP sound of past TVXQ tracks and melded it with the hard-hitting dancefloor appeal of 2012. Its layered chorus may be simple, but draws on the duo’s inimitable vocals to impressive effect.
31. Gain – Bloom
Driven by incessant rhythm guitar, Bloom merged Gain’s boundary-breaking style with the best pop melody of her solo career. The song’s bright, euphoric chorus takes no prisoners, blending disco sensibilities with its anthemic refrain for a truly striking and iconic release.
NEXT: NUMBERS 30-21